The United States there has been debating over the right to own and keep arms, a debate that has resulted into diverging opinions. Some of these opinions are yet to be harmonized, and in this regard, the matter has not been brought to a close. Nevertheless, the debates on gun ownership has resulted into the determination and wording of the Second Amendment of the US constitution. According to a section of the citizenry, the ownership of fire arms cannot be regarded as a matter of personal right as the government is entrusted with the collective responsibility of ensuring that individuals and properties are secured. Nevertheless, there are those who believe that the Second Amendment facilitates the upholding of the rights of individuals (Barton 5). This paper explicates the issues raised by the proponents as well as the opponents of this Amendment before since the issue began to be debated in public.

Opponents of the Second Amendment

According to Brady Campaign of the prevention of Gun Violence, there are those who are strongly opposed to the individual ownership of arms. They argue that the right put forth in the Second Amendment was in reference to the State militias and not to private gun ownership. According to the assertions, the Brady Campaign group implies that this amendment was enacted to bar the Federal authorities from disarming the State militias. With regard to this, Ashcroft was against the ownership of fire arms by individual citizens. He argued that it would be a misinterpretation of the constitution to argue that the citizens have a right to own firearms (Charles 10).

In a landmark ruling between United States v. Miller 307 U.S. 174 (1939) the court was tasked with determining whether the Second Amendment did uphold Miller’s right to be in possession of a shot gun which had not been registered, considering that the law appeared to allow it. The Court evaluated the prior records of the Congress to find out whether the Second Amendment was jotted in the supreme law of the land (Gerber 9). The court laid basis of ownership of arms to an organized and disciplined groups called the militia which is employed in the Service of the United States. This Amendment was hence interpreted and upheld. The Supreme Court hence ruled against the possession by Miller of the shot gun as it being not for a militia purpose, and hence does not fall under the protection of the Second Amendment (Charles 10). 

During the Court case between Lewis v. United States, Lewis acknowledged that the Second Amendment provides no right to own a fire arm that is not related to a properly controlled and efficient militia. Lewis had sought to know whether the section of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe State Streets Act of the year 1968, was meant to bar the law breakers and convicted criminals from being in possession of arms (Hansbrough 20). Considering that the law breakers and convicted people are deprived of their rights, it was apparent that the Court would rule in favour of prohibiting law breakers from owning fire arms as this would be in the interest of the society.  In the court case between Vietnamese Fishermen’s Associations v. KKK, the court upheld that the Second Amendment was against the ownership of arms as it would against the efficiency of a well-organized militia groups. The jury argued that no other group or person was allowed to own a fire arm as it would be challenging to control them (Hawxhurst 23).

Proponents of the second Amendment

There is a section of the society that supports the right to own fire arms. The section has, indeed, raised concerns over the outlawing of individual gun ownership. They state that the right put forth in the Second Amendment of the Constitution is a personal right and attribute it as being constitutional right. They presume the Amendment to imply that the American citizens have been allowed to own arms in their individual capacity, and it would, therefore, be against the law to bar such private ownership. The proponents of individual gun ownership argue that such a strategy would help reduce clime as everybody would be in a position to deter criminality (Gerber 7).

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Recently, the United States authorities in the Columbia District made a ruling in the case between Parker v. District of Columbia. The court overturned the laws in the D.C. that went against the private owning of guns, terming them as unconstitutional. The Second Amendment was seen as an infringement to the laws in D.C., especially when it was perceived to bar anyone who is not a member of the law enforcement teams from owning fire arms. Nevertheless, the D.C. laws prohibited the carrying of guns with absence of a license. Moreover, the citizens were not allowed to have loaded guns. Guns would only be loaded when being used in lawful engagements. The court added that though the word militia is quoted, it could similarly be applied to citizens to protect themselves as well as hunting. The role of the militia was acknowledged but was not to be the sole persons to possess the arms.

Another case between District of Columbia v Heller was brought before the Supreme Court in March 2008. The matters at hand were whether the District was not allowed by the Second Amendment to prohibit the ownership of hand guns while at the same time disregarding ownership of rifles and shotguns. Additionally, the Court was to issue a ruling as to whether the matter brought forth by Heller was a genuine case of concern. The matter was an evaluation of whether arms can be lawfully kept at home by a citizen who follows the laws of the land (Hansbrough 20).  The Supreme Court made a ruling in June 2008, which stated that, the Second Amendment did, indeed, uphold the right of a person to own guns. The court did not evaluate the laws that regulated gun ownership for a variety of other reasons. It stated that Heller and his friends were right in owning guns in their premises. Additionally, the Court stated that sensible regulation may be allowed but prohibiting it was not sensible. The jury went on to state that the law was only applicable to the District of Columbia.  In another court case between Gilbert Equipment Co., Inc. V. Higgins, 709 F. Supp. 1071 the court  did uphold the Second Amendment that provided for the right for a person to bear and keep arms (Barton 10).


Considering that there are differences in the proponents and opponents of the section in the constitution, what the two agree on is that there is a law that upholds the right to own fire arms. Whether it is collective of an individual right to the person living in America this right is provided for in the Second Amendment with the desire to protect life (Barton 8). The fire arms section has not been of as much purpose as it was expected. There are, however, expectations of getting the principles right. The anti-arms groups have been given the right to initiate debates. This has made it possible to proceed with the public discussion with regard to the intent and wording of the section in the constitution.

Considering that the personal right to own a fire arm is far from being settled, the constitution has not enabled the federal government to regard individual gun ownership as the right of the citizens. Nevertheless, the discussion of intent and wording is no less than a distraction from what is really beneath it (Hansbrough 12). In any debate or discussion of the right to own fire arms, the opposing groups are advised to avoid using intent and wording in the Second Amendment as it appears to be disputed. They, however, build their discussion around other provisions in the Constitution, especially those that are not in contradiction with the Federal Convention of 1787.

The manner in which the government has had its resoluteness on the gun policy challenged under the constitution has been a matter of concern. The section of the citizenry that is opposed to personal ownership has established its argument on the wrong belief that the federal government is able to put in place laws it desires, unless there is a provision in the law of the land that challenges such a strategy. This is a letdown of the system of government created by the Constitution. This law has, therefore, actually reduced the powers of the federal government with regard to gun control. The government finds it challenging to institute enough powers for the purpose of protecting the citizens from misuse (Gerber 9). 

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